Mary Cummings
Agent for Kids Books

Wish List

                                       What I’m Wishing For (and not!) 

My tastes are pretty broad. I like warmth, humor, adventure, and quirky charm. I like adorable and cute. I like sad and satisfying. I like gorgeous and lyrical. I like wondrous. I like love. I like energetic and unconventional. I like serious and poignant. (I know. As I say: my tastes are pretty broad).

I want to feel a change in my breathing when I read a manuscript: a change because I’m seeing something really good that makes me go “wow!” I want a strong story arc and strong protagonist. I want characters to experience some kind of change or transformation. I want something that kids will relate to, stirring or awakening new emotions and providing them with a look at possible ways to live in the world. 

My personal “golden time” with books growing up was when I was 9 – 11, and I have special connection with middle grade work perhaps as a result of this. 

I began collecting picture books when I was in high school and truly love the form.

Always welcome:

Stories about times, people and places underrepresented in children’s and teen lit

Friendship stories

Magic realism, and fantasy grounded in or related to the real world

Great read-aloud picture books

Stories about important, complex relationships

Historical fiction and narrative nonfiction

Work tied to school standards (tell me which) or geared to a specific audience

Biographies, especially in the arts and sciences (as picture books or longer works) (how about a pb bio on one of the great opera singers? I'm a huge fan)

Lyrically written science, nature, mindfulness and social awareness topics

Stories about holidays, including those important to a minority community

Author-illustrator picture books 

Poetry collections (picture books) 

Middle grade or ya written in multiple formats (poetry and prose; diary and text etc.)

Probably not a fit for me:

Picture books with rhyming words at the end of every line
YA stories with characters out of their teens 
Zombies, vampires, etc.
Mean girl stories and school dramas
Abuse, murder, gore
   (which is not to say I totally shy away from darkness and danger!) 

I look forward to hearing from you. Remember to follow the submission guidelines!


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